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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  April 17, 2014 12:00am-12:31am PDT

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with ed catmull, the man behind pixar. he has written a new book titled, creativity inc.. with tatianatalk maslany who plays a different categories. you have joined us. those conversations are coming up right now.
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those conversations are coming up right now. ♪ captioned by the national captioning institute >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. has workedatmull with steve jobs and john lasseter. he has earned five academy award for innovative technology and engineering as well as for
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content excellence. he is president of the car and disney animation, teams that brought us such wonderful films -e" and "frozen." he has written a new tone that gives us insight on how to achieve artistic goals. program.ave you on the we should start with congratulations. ultimatee news about success of frozen. you set a record. >> frozen became the highest g grossing animated film. tavis: you beat your own record. how does that feel? >> we have a new challenge. tavis: how does it feel to be the guy who has been on the team since the very beginning? i think for a lot of different reasons americans know the names of these other guys were then
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they know your name, yet you have been there every step of the way? .our ego must not be an issue >> i actually feel awkward being at the center of attention. i love solving problems and removing barriers. being at the center of that is not the place to be. tavis: that seems and that the seems -- and identical -- antithetical. >> most people want to be part of something that's great. there's a cultural ethic that we are making films that touch the world. that's what we want to do. for me there is something grand about that view of the world. tavis: anyone who works in any operation should be viewed as a member of the team. i knew at -- i do a tv show and
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could not do it by myself. we are a team. i expect that is true for any organization, but i can't think of a field where the work is more collaborative than the field you work in. how do you process that? >> i believe it has to be the team. the people there understand it is a team. from the outside point of view they only see one or two people, so the outside view is a distortion of what happens, yet truly the directors appreciate everyone around them, because they bring things they wouldn't get themselves. that's what makes it work. tavis: i want to go in your text and get some of the good advice you shared in your book, but one other personal question. ,hat's the takeaway for you given the kind of work you do?
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you're in animation. we all love animation. what you get out of being animator in chief? what does it do for you? personally it is the way people respond to problems. i know internally when we have got successes i feel good about that, but there is something about when there is a crisis and a group comes together to solve a problem, that's when i fill the best. it's the strangest ing. i don't know how to the scribe it. i walk out of a meeting where everyone is falling apart and that group owns the problem. they own the problem. there is a special feeling when you see that. you have some interesting and fascinating stuff about how to run our operations and how to be better players. one of the concepts i found funny, do you want to expound on
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that? >> i first heard this when disney was successful in the 90's for those fantastic films that change motion picture history, but they have this the beast the beast. is in broadcast. you have to keep stuff coming in, so you have the term, feed creative. it's it generates revenue. it's really important. then there is the question, where does the new stuff come from. there is a concept most people have that the beginning of the child.s like a young it must be fun to watch the pretty little baby grow up, but what if the baby is ugly? point. all ofal
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our films at the beginning look terrible, and i don't say this to be self-effacing or modest. they really don't look good. they suck. at that point that team of thate has got something looks like a smoking heap of troubles. it takes years to get this. there is a time when you are protecting this thing when you are ugly, but you can't do this forever. we have got this continual balance between feeding the beast and protecting the baby.
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people say make the decisions now, and it can screw your front and. tavis: what if the baby stays ugly? what if the baby never gets cuter? how do you know you need to get out of this? movie sometimes and say to myself who in the world thought this was going to work, and they spend millions of dollars, and you tell me at no we areobody thought .oing to lose big time you can't allow. but how do you know when the ugly baby isn't going to get cuter? togetherve people come , write the script, shoot it, edit together, and at that point
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they find out, i have something good here, or we are in trouble. if they see we are in trouble, it usually too late to fix it. the team will work on it. make the movie yet. we just did drawings and put them up with temporary voices and temporary music. it's like we did a beta version of it. it and come and do it again. we repeat this several times. ithave a way of correcting when it has gone off the rail. that being said, the original question, what happens if after all these steps we don't get there because we have been in that place? we were there with
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toy story three, ratatouille. the difficulty is about what makes this hard is you have got to protect the team when they are wandering around in the wilderness. when do you stop? you have to make changes. there is not a sudden cutoff point. team isn't working well together, the first thing you do is cast warning flags and ulster the team. usually that works, but if after a lot of bolstering it doesn't work, you reach a point where the director loses the crew. to dot point we have something painful, which is to change the director. tavis: that's amazing because you tell me toy story three was an ugly baby, and it goes on to become a huge blockbuster. 3 wasust say toy story the first -- only one of our major films that didn't have a
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meltdown. steve called me once about it. i said, i'm a little nervous -- tavis: steve jobs. >> i said, we haven't had a major problem with toy story 3. he said, you had better look out. worried because our next two films are disasters. tavis: the good thing about this book is it is advice for how to make teams work better. you go about making sure you have the right team? how do you put the right team together? .> we have to judge the team that's a nonobvious thing. people want to look at the product. workad, how does this team together? are they laughing? are they funny? are they focused? if they are working together,
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they will solve the problem. that's one of our fundamental tenants. if that team is working we are going to trust them, even though they are going to make a bunch of mistakes. made her rent us mistakes -- they were exploratory mistakes, but they ended up in a great place because they were protected. some of us come to work everyday and pretty much do the same thing, but you are in the space of doing original work. notions that change the of creativity when you are doing original work? isthe way i think about it creativity should be broader than just expression or creating .ew products for me creativity includes problem-solving. we freetion is how do people up. you go to most organizations,
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and you find sometimes people will tell the truth. they won't say what they think. there are these barriers. if you look at people trying to address the problem of creativity, what they want to do is find the answer about how they can become more creative or how they can solve problems, but i don't think that's the fundamental issue. for me the fundamental issue is there are cultural and systemic barriers to creativity, and what we try to address are the barriers in the blocks to change in honesty. tavis: cultural and systemic. i can do this for hours. i don't have much time. i hear your point about these barriers. that such an open statement. >> let's take the notion of sellier. it's pretty popular to say everyone should learn to fail, that it's the good thing.
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intellectually it's an obvious thing, but it gets conflated with another manner of sellier. when we grew up as kids telling was a really bad thing. that's deeply ingrained inside us. in the business world of failure is used as i hammer to damage your opponent. we have the professional meaning , and the other is, this is really bad. it's a hammer to hurt somebody, but these are emotionally combined. will sayt is people something about sellier, but deep down inside they don't want to do it. that's part of the system. it's an emotional one. what we have to do is say, how safe fore it so it is people to make mistakes? they have got to walk in the
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room and do something and know that a lot of what they are presenting people doesn't work and nobody is going to hold them down for it. tavis: he has done more collaborative work than anybody in this town or certainly as much of anybody, so he ought to know. he's the president of exar animation and disney animation. the new text is entitled "creativity, inc." i promise you i have not done justice to the text, but i hope you're appetite has been wetted for the book. congratulations on the frozen success and future success to come. coming up, actress tatiana ."slany from "orphan black stay with us. has themaslany distinction of playing not one role but a different characters.
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clones of each other in the hit rake out bb -- break out the bbc ."erica series "orphan black it has put her on the short list for predictions of emmy nominations. we start with a look at the ."ene from "orphan black met some strange people. >> they look nice. >> i made that. >> we love you. don'tmally i would say, do anything rash, but that seems to be a genetic trait. believe me. to changeis the time our behavior. you don't have a plan. tavis: i don't know if we should
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set out one share or seven shares. >> there's a lineup. tavis: what can you tell me about this new clone, jennifer? nothing. moveon. >> absolutely nothing. tavis: is there anything you can tell me? >> about jennifer? see thehe last one to potential for what could be going on inside her body and what her future could be, so she is facing her mortality, and jennifer is part of that. you were young, beautiful, vibrant, and i suspect that allows you to play so many characters. how difficult must be? >> as an actor it's a dream. it's so much fun. it's tough but only because it's technically a bit of a nightmare. i think any actor would dive withit with joy and
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gratitude. it's a dream role, and it's written so well and so specifically. their owncter has dreams. it's just fun. it seems to be a writer's paradise. this must be endless. that from the same canvas but getting to explore it. i think the wardrobe team does the same thing. they work with a blank slate of me. how can they change how my face looks? how can they change the structure of things? how can they help me express this? it's very much a collaboration. tavis: you guys are constantly working on the next episode. i get that. how do you find the time? what is your process?
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this is like an inside the actors studio question. >> i love it. tavis: what is the methodology to get into who the character is well the makeup folk are doing their stuff to get you to look different? how do you find the time to get into the inner beings of the character? >> it's a lot of work ahead of did a lot of improv as a young person and continue to use improv as a basis for how i work and live, which is just saying yes, saying yes to the craziness of the situation. if i thought about it too much, it would be like, i am not this person. if any actor overthink things they are going to destroy the suspension of disbelief. for me it's about saying yes to committing to the craziness and to having fun in it, knowing all these people are within. tavis: just between the two of us, have they put anything in
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front of you and you said, that's one i can't play? >> i feel like i'm constantly faced with these challenges of -- when allison at the end of season one die, i thought, she would never do that. i just realized, that such a gift, to get something where you are going know first, you have to do it. you have to go into those things that are scary. tavis: i thought i read somewhere that you are on the set -- you love music, but you are listening to different kinds of music that might be collaborative with the character you are playing. does that make sense? >> that's a fact. i am listening to a lecture oh tro ande music, -- elec rave music.
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there are a lot of different styles. >> what does the music do for you? >> it's the internal rhythm of the character. we have a rhythm to our movement or a kind of sense of us that can be attributed to music. dance has always been an important thing for me, so being able to express the character through music and dance is another layer two things, like alice and internal music -- allison's internal music is musical theater. given her that drama, that heightened thing. for me musical theater is very emotional, so she has that going on, she pushes it down. it still in their. theater inmusical your past? >> yes, i love it. i did it as a kid. i am scared of it. singing is a hard thing. tavis: i ask that because hollywood is infamous for making
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you all seem like overnight sensations, like this all just happened in the last 24 or 48 hours, when they realize you have been doing this since you were nine? , what we discovered you were you doing? >> i have worked since i was nine. i have been doing theater, tv, film. tavis: in canada? >> all over canada and in the states as well. just working. it's nice to be on a project that gets me over here. you guys have a lot of say in what goes on here. tavis: not that you have anything to do with the because you have to look at the stuff that makes sense for you as a thespian, but what do you make of the fact that this becomes the vehicle that introduces you to the rest of us? >> it's excellent. i'm so grateful it's this job, because i feel like i took this job because i love the acting
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challenge of it, and i knew it was a big risk. i also feel like i can't really be typecast egos of it. of it.use unless people just approach it with multiple characters and i do that for the rest of my life. tavis: that isn't the worst aim. what is it about this show that works for the audience? you have a growing audience. it blowing up social media. #cloneclub. ist do you think about this resonating with the audience? >> i think a lot of our fans are young women. i think there is something really exciting about seeing a story about a whole bunch of young women that maybe they can relate to one over another or they can find something in themselves in each of them. i think it's unique in that way. it's a universal
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story, it's from the female perspective, and i think that's unique and important. tavis: is that empowering for you? >> absolutely. the complexitye to these women the same way they would to any character and any man, and we need more of that. an inside joke. don't tell my staff i told you this, but i was looking at the list the other day at my office about you coming on the show, and somebody made a mistake and had written that you were the star of "lack orphan -- han."k orp >> that's a different thing. >> this is "orphan black" on bbc america. asstars tatiana maslany eight different people. >> i am rolling in it. tavis: i'm delighted to have you
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for the first time. i hope it's not the last. that's our show for tonight. think for watching, and keep the faith. >> i am toni braxton. >> i am babyface. >> i want to congratulate you on your hollywood walk of fame. you deserve it. >> that's so large. a sign of respect. congratulations for your star on the hollywood walk of fame. >> i'm looking forward to dancing on your star on the hollywood walk of fame. >> congratulations on being inducted into the hollywood walk of fame. you deserve it. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with jackie collins. that's next time. we will see you then.
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